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Existential Leadership: NWACUHO

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Jenni Chadick

on 16 July 2013

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Transcript of Existential Leadership: NWACUHO


I choose myself
myself is scary
I'm not really as free as I thought I was
I’m becoming more, not less, cautious in my choices
What is

Where Can I Use Existentialism in My Work?
I will choose my meanings to the best of my ability and I will try not to live a life of regret or bitterness
Nothing in life is certain
Then what in life is really important?
Sisyphus &
The Scream
"The truth is that as the struggle for survival has subsided, the question has emerged - survival for what? Even more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for."
- Viktor Frankl
Life is meaningful because of our mortality

What is Leadership?
Notoriously hard to define
Influence over others.
What do you want this influence to be?
As a professional?
As a student?
In One-on-Ones
In Conduct Meetings
In Your Advising Role
Training students
Staff Meetings
Knowing what motivates your students
What motivated you to apply for this position?
What areas for growth you are specifically looking for?
How do you prefer to receive feedback?
What would a successful year look like to you?
How did you come to this description of success?
Allowing for silences - and recognizing the importance of what is not said is just as important as what is said.
Move beyond the what to the why
Helping students recognize their own agency in the situation at hand
Development activities that promote reflection on one's own tastes and temperments
Training that is both practical and personal
Experiential Learning
The language of transformation
What sort of things, if they were to happen more frequently, would make your experience more supportive of your own development?
What commitment (or value) is implied in this earlier response?
What are you doing, or not doing, that is keeping this commitment from being fully realized?
Resident Director
RSA Adviser
Conduct Officer
Who am I?
“The way to value life, the way to feel compassion for others, the way to love anything with greatest depth is to be aware that these experiences are destined to be lost.”
- Nash & Murray
p. 34
You want your RA training to have a session on ethical decision making
Theory to Practice
You are working with a group of students who have just formed as a team
A student group you work with is struggling with their communication
They aren't on the same page for expectations
They are relying to heavily on an adviser/supervisor for direction
They are avoiding the issue
Utilizing principles of motivational interviewing
Eliciting stories through open-ended questions
So what? Now what?

Show and tell - asking students to share a piece of them with their team during meeting.
Self-reflection as a means of assessing performance.
Personal goal setting based on position, group, and expectations.
CE: Frisbee challenge
RO: Debriefing the activity - what communication techniques worked well? Not so well?
AC: How does this relate to your work as a team?
AE: Using discussion points to inform future interactions.
Kolb's Model of Experiential Learning
Existential Leadership

Leading with the purpose of helping students discover their own values, meaning and path in life.
Respecting autonomy of choice, while posing reflective questions.
Why did you choose to attend this school? Why do you stay?
What would a successful semester (or year) look like?
How could your actions impede on this success? (Assessing readiness for change)
How do you know the difference between what is right and from to you in this particular situation?
Utilizing creative sanctioning.
Utilizing experiential learning thoery in your group interactions with students.
Hopes and Dreams
Educational Challenges
Religion and Spirituality
Work Life
Home, Friends, Lovers, and Family
Helping College Students Find Purpose
Meaning Making in the College Years
Nash, R. & Murray, M. (2010).
Key Assumptions of the Postmodern Existential Leader
Truths all depend on the story teller
How we make meaning of our stories depends on our own background, experiences, and "hives of influences"
Contingency, choice, and chance will always influence our meaning making
Ultimately, "to know thyself" is a virtuous goal of meaning making
You'd like students to better understand how their values interplay with institutional values
You'd like to introduce the topic of integrity and ethics to the work your group will engage in
CE: Movie clips - choose a side
RO: Debriefing the activity - what made you decide on your side of the room?
AC: Values sort/mission statement writing & review
AE: Using discussion points to inform future interactions.
You'd like students to get to know one another
You'd like them to start to explore group expectations based on personality, experience, and shared goals
CE: Assessment (Success Signals)
RO: One minute paper - how do you feel about your results? What rings true?
AC: How do the results of individual assessments shape our work as a team? Establishing mutual expectations.
AE: Using mutual expectations to inform future interactions.
Dreyfus, H. & Kelly, S.D. (2011). All things shining: Reading the western classics to find meaning in a secular age. New York: Free Press.

Frankl, V. (1980). The will to meaning: Foundations and applications of logotherapy. New York: Penguin.

Kegan, R. & Lahey, L.L. (2002). How the way we talk can change the way we work: Seven languages for transformation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Kolb, D.A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Nash, R. & Murray, M. (2010). Helping college students find purpose: The campus guide to meaning-making. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Wilson, R., Gundry, D., Lucina, G., Mogharabi, S. (2010). Soul pancake: Chew on life’s big questions. New York: Hyperion.
Jenni Chadick: NWACUHO 2011
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